Chapter 45 Sashimi (j)
Translated by Ultra
Edited by Gumihou
Shiyu’s life plodded on.
She assisted the Soup Shop and sliced radishes day in, day out. She sliced fish at night, and made soup every day. After half a month of slicing radishes, her knife skills have greatly improved. However, fish was different from radishes. 
The flesh was softer, more elastic and different from the crisp and firm radish.
After some thought, she decided to do her homework at the Soup Shop. Shiyu brought fish to the Soup Shop. She set up her station, but instead of reaching for a radish, she placed a fish on her cutting board and begin to efficiently strip the scales off of it. Then, with her newly acquired knife skill, the job of scaling and deboning the fish went vert quickly. There was barely any meat left on the bones when she was done.
Boss Gan Ping was taken aback to see her practising her skills on fish. However, a smile appeared on his face as he said, “I see, looks like I am the one falling behind this time.” Once the supply of radishes was finished for the day, he too switched out his practice subject to fish.
No radishes meant no more radish soup.
From that day onwards, it was all Fish Bone Soup, Fish Slice Soup and Fish Head Soup. Naturally, the fishmongers were more than happy to supply fish for the College Cafeteria’s Soup Shop. Fish were less popular than other kinds of meat, like pork or chicken. Naturally, the most popular and expensive meat would be Spiritual Beast Meat, but unfortunately not even money could buy such meat at times.
However, the fish sent to the Soup Shop were all small fishes with too many little spines. Shiyu disliked dealing with them. The fish she had been keeping at the villa pond were closer to carps and were both larger and easier to deal with. The lack of spines was a good bonus. However, she did not have many swimming around the pond now, and decided to keep them for herself.
One morning, Shiyu woke up from her meditation to find that her body was in a wonderful state of relaxation. Something had changed. She circulated her Spiritual Power through her Meridians and found her qi plumbing was no longer clogged up.
Cheerfully, she reached for a Cinnabar Fruit and popped it into her mouth. The sweet taste of the fruit felt very refreshing, and the usual tingling along her Meridians was absent.
Before today, each time she ate a Cinnabar Fruit, her Meridians would tingle and the flow of her Spiritual Power would slow down.  Kind of like the build-up of cholesterol in arteries… At any rate, there were no such feelings of resistance today, everything was running as smoothly as though they were on oiled rails.
Shiyu ate two more, and found that her Meridians remained clog-free. She tried running her spiritual power through one cycle and found that all systems go. Brilliant.
“Well, it looks like Cinnabar Fruit no longer works on me,” she said to herself. She switched her view to look inside herself, and found that within her Dantian, there were seven water droplets circling around the Fire Seed she had swallowed long ago.
Condensation Stage – Seventh Layer!
Feeling buoyed up, she slid off the bed and draw the curtains open. There were a few potted plants at the window box. One of them held a radish, who was snoring away quite comfortably. There was even a bubble of snot that shrank and expand as he breathed. Looks like San Pang won’t be waking up today.
She went downstairs and caught sight of Fat Cat sunning itself by the loft window. The sun was full on Fat Cat’s face as the sky changed colour from light purple to blue. Shiyu blinked, for a moment, she thought Fat Cat’s fur had turned a deep violet, but when she looked again she found herself staring at deep black fur.
Was this… a trick of the light?
While she was puzzling over this matter, Fat Cat turned to look at her, “It’s May now, you can go search for Wasabi soon.”
The most important ingredient in a Wasabi paste  is the Wasabi. When eaten with Sashimi, it could neutralize its fishiness and bring out the best flavours.
However, the Wasabi only grow in the woodlands and at the highest altitudes . She would have to see if there was a suitably high mountain nearby where she could scale for the Wasabi plant.
Her first impulse was to ask Lin Fan. However the young man was nowhere to be found, she packed up her things and headed for her daily practice at the Soup Shop. When she got there, however, she found Gan Ping rubbing medicine into a young man.
It was the same young man who bought Gan Ping’s Dark Cuisine soup, the Mortal Enemy. Shiyu would never forget him. She felt both admiration and disgust for this brave soul… 
Anyway, after having changed the soup recipes, the youngster no longer appeared as much. Regardless, she approached and frowned.
“Uncle Gan, why are you rubbing medicine on him? He doesn’t look hurt, ah.” This was true, aside from looking a little exhausted and defeated, nothing looked out of place.
“How could hidden injuries be seen?” interestingly enough, a rare show of anger darkened his face. “Those uppity little brats are too ruthless. Wen Xian’s talent was poor, so they bullied him. Though the injuries could not be seen, they hurt so badly that one could not even sleep at night. If I had not visited him at his dormitory, they might have succeeded in driving him out of this College.”
This shocked Shiyu. It was only then that she noticed that every time Uncle Gan applied the medicine, the young man would twitch or squirm. Pain twisted his face, but he gritted his teeth, refusing to let out a sound of distress.
Looking at him reminded Shiyu of Lao Er. Lao Er also had no talent for Cultivation. Was he being bullied like this every day? Was she wrong to encourage the boy to pursue his dreams?
“Who did this?” she demanded, her heart aching for the downtrodden. “Are your injuries serious? I have plenty of medicine, I can lend you whatever you need.”
“No need,” the young man immediately declined.
“He should be fine soon, the medicine would work on the injuries.” Gan Ping said. Suddenly, he blinked and narrowed his eyes at Shiyu, “Little Shi, aren’t you a student here too? Which class are you?”
Shiyu had to rack her brain for the information, “I’m at Yellow Grade… 10th Class, I think?” she had only looked at her proof of admission once, and that was it.
“As it happens, you are in the same class as Wen Xian. If anyone dares to bully him, you tell me, understand? This little brat is too stubborn, refusing to let out even a fart when beaten up by others. I’m afraid he’d probably die before I know it!” Gan Ping grumbled.
There was an awkward look on Wen Xiang’s face, but he said in a soft voice, “I just think, I cause you a lot of trouble already. I’ve already eaten a lot of your food and received too much help from you. I’m afraid, with my lack of talent and low status, I’d never be able to repay this debt for the rest of my life.”
“Get out of here! Who wants a favour from a little brat like you? If you haven’t been faithfully drinking my radish soup this past year, I’d never have taken notice of you.” Gan Pang snapped, his face turned away.
Their banter sounded rough and coarse on the surface, but Shiyu could feel the warm undercurrent beneath those harsh words. Everyone knew that Uncle Gan’s special dark soup was meant for Wen Xian. However, because of her unnecessary meddling, she had deprived Wen Xian this source of nutrition. The youngster was too embarrassed to even come and buy one bowl of 1 coin soup now.
“Wen Xian, have you ever heard of the saying ‘When there are too many debts, one stops worrying about them?’ There’s also the saying that goes ‘One debt is a debt, two debts are also debts, however, many debts a good friend makes’. Just look at poor Uncle Gan. He’s already at this age, but do you see many friends around him? In the future, you may have to take on the difficult task of becoming his friend despite your age difference. Otherwise, he would be all alone and cranky in his twilight years.” said Shiyu.
“Yes, yes, you’re right. If I’m not so worried about bothering your Cultivation, I’d really like to help out at the store too.” Suddenly, Gan Ping looked at Shiyu, “Wait, aren’t you also a student? Why have I never seen you in class?”
“… …” what should she say, ah?  She can’t just blurt out that she did not even know where the door to her classroom is, right?
Suddenly, tears began to fall from Wen Xian’s eyes. He shouted happily, “Ah, I remember now! Are you Shiyu?”
Shiyu nodded, “Is my name well known here?”
Wen Xian’s sallow face brightened up, “I used to be the dead last, but now that you’re here I have been elevated!”
So, this ‘seat of honour’ is now hers?
“Ah, but you had better report to your class as soon as possible. I heard that the instructor was going to have you kick out of the College soon,” said Wen Xian.
The Imperial College divided their classes into four grades: Heaven, Earth, Arcane and Yellow. Each grade was further divided into 10 classes, similar to how cultivation levels were decided, numbering 1 to 10. Naturally, of each grade, class No. 10 has the worse reputation. It was where all the weak and poor in status were thrown in.
Thanks to their lack of talent and social ties, instructors don’t usually pay attention to students from the 10th class. Moreover, in addition to the lack of assistance, the 10th Class were given a lot of rules and restrictions. For example, while most students were free to leave or attend their classes, 10th class students must attend their classes every day.
If Shiyu had been a student from any other class, her half month absence since her formal acceptance to this school would have been overlooked. However, attendance was a serious thing for 10th Class students. Lack of attendance was enough to get a student booted out of the College.
The double standards were clear for all to see.
If any of the 10th Class were to protest, the school would slap them with this one line:
“If it’s unfair, then use your own power to obtain fairness.”
Sadly, the one thing the 10th Class students lacked was strength.
[Gumihou: Lol for some reason, the talk about debts reminded me of Gintoki…]
 Added more details: Split paragraphs for opening line.
 Added more details: Added the cholesterol imagery
 Wrong fact alert: Wasabi paste IS NOT made from Wasabi. In fact, there is NO WASABI in Wasabi paste. The thing everyone calls Wasabi paste is actually made from ground horseradish, flour, corn starch, Blue Dye 1 and Yellow Dye 5.
Real Wasabi is grated on sharkskin grater and served FRESH!
Fat Cat, please don’t teach Shiyu wrong things.
 Wrong fact alert: Actually, Wasabi grows along river beds in mountain river valleys, not mountain peaks. They need a lot of fresh and cold water, they don’t grow in woodlands. Where did you get your facts from?
 Added more details: I mentioned the Mortal Enemy soup, because why not?
 Style change: Changed description to internal monologue
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